Freedom of the Press

Lesotho

Lesotho

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

42

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

15

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

16

The government generally respects freedom of speech and the press, which is provided for in the constitution. However, a 1938 proclamation prohibits criticism of the government and contains liabilities for seditious libel. Journalists and media organizations are regularly the targets of defamation lawsuits; in December, a private company sued a weekly tabloid for publishing damaging information. A number of independent newspapers, including Christian publications and four English-language weeklies, freely scrutinize government policies. However, state-owned print and broadcast media reflect the views of the ruling party and do not give equal coverage to opposition parties. Journalists reportedly have trouble gaining free access to official information. Media development remains constrained by underfunding and a lack of resources.